"Don't turn around, okay Mom?" Jack says. "I'm making a surprise." I hear dishes slide across the counter.
"Okay," I say. My fingers tap-tap across the computer keyboard. I flutter numbers and dollar signs into our family budget, flex my mind around the herculean effort of reconciling numbers. Like all great efforts it requires hours more than expected and yields peace. I gather a lay of the land and memorize the mountains and valleys.
When I turn around, finally: a sierra of gingerbread boys.
"It's a surprise for you," they say. Best of all they polish the kitchen to clean perfection, floors and all.
Peace settles over the house. It's not a sigh of having everything, but the long exhale of having all that matters. One by one we wrap our tired arms around each other and head to bed. Sleep holds us, gentle arms of strength encircle us.
6183. A dear friend surprises us with a visit, gift in tow.
6184. A neighbor passes on bags of used books.
6185. I continue the quiet repetition that is knitting to smooth the evenings. I finish a baby hat and start a sweater.
6186. I finish my original knitting pattern.
6187. Lucy plans out Christmas gifts and sets to making them.
6188. Jane too.
6189. Jack makes gingerbread boys with an army of helpers.
6190. Myra and Joe build forts in the sunroom and clean them up when they finish.
6191. Mom and I compare notes on all things Oswald Chambers and theology.
6192. A fresh pot of soup: meat and sweet potatoes. Mmmmm.
6193. Craig and Jane stack a chord of firewood.
6194. We roast a turkey for on hand when the baby is born.
6195. We watch with mirth as the baby's due date comes tomorrow and yet no baby.
6196. I take note of how each of our children is so different from all the others. I can't imagine how one more can yet be so different. It will be like unwrapping a gift each day.
6197. And we wait.